What to attend for a data centric marketer at Sitecore Symposium 2018

September 23, 2018

By Scott Gillis, Lead Consultant and Sitecore MVP

Sitecore Symposium 2018 - This guide will give you some ideas of what to attend if you are responsible for reporting out how your site is behaving and how your customers are reacting.

Sessions are selected based on the limited information I can get access without spending tons of time reaching out to each speaker for more info, though that could make for an interesting series for the future. I looked at the title, session description and to some extend what I might know about the speaker (having heard them before, read their work, etc...), from that you've got this and the other guides.

Day 1 - Monday, October 8th

Stretch those legs with some mingling of what is sure to turn into some of your best new friends.

Day 2 - Tuesday, October 9th

07:00 AM to 08:00 AM - Breakfast (is not just for champions)

Nice time to make new friends or meet up with old over pastry and hopefully bacon (lots of bacon.)

08:00 AM to 9:45 AM

General Audience Keynotes. Sit back, relax and prepare to see your Sitecore world *Elevated.

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

This time is reserved for you track keynotes. I can't provide much insight on where to go for this. If you are a little more technical leaning the Development Keynote has yet to let me down.

11:45 AM to 12:30 PM

The Cortex engine: Process at scale
Alistair Deneys
Lead Developer

Sitecore 9.1 introduces a new scalable processing engine which powers the Cortex Machine Learning framework, and allows integration to best-of-breed ML tooling. In this session, we will run through the main architectural changes for data processing from previous versions, and how you could set up deployments to deal with scaled environments with xConnect and Sitecore Cortex.

WHY: I foresee this session being heavy on technical notes, so skip this if nuts and bolts and probably a little Visual Studio makes you nauseous. Otherwise this session could prove powerful in understanding how Sitecore is working behind the scenes to move and interpret your data.


Data-driven Sitecore: Getting a unified view of the customer to drive targeted marketing experiences
Tim Ward

Data is everywhere – in your back-office tools, in your marketing platforms, and online. Unfortunately, many brands are not utilizing data properly, but crave to do so. Let us show you how you can elevate your content management experience by activating the power of your data, resulting in more meaningful and targeted brand experiences. In this session, we’ll show you practical examples of what you can achieve by having a proper data strategy. We will use a bank in Denmark as the use case for demonstrating what can be achieved when data from across the organization is unleashed onto Sitecore. Join us for this session and you’ll be amazed by the number of signals and knowledge that can be aggregated into the xProfile and how a sales or marketing team could visibly increase value with just a few small tricks.

WHY: Interested in data is one thing, getting all that data into working form across the organization can be a test of patience and cooperation. I am thinking this session should provide some examples and tips to making this a more possible reality for you.

12:45 PM to 01:30 PM

12 personalization tactics to supercharge your digital experiences
Lars Birkholm Petersen
Altola, Inc.

In this session, you will learn how to run personalization like a pro. We'll start with easy quick wins like segmentation and then dive deep into taking full advantage of Sitecore xDB, xConnect, and Cortex to power individualization at scale. You'll earn which tactic to use when and understand the foundation for measuring the impact of your personalization program using Sitecore Experience Analytics.

WHY: First, Lars is performing for you so it’s worth attending just for that. You'll want to attend this session to help build your understanding of what personalization actions can result in which data sets for your analysis later on.


Real-world machine learning - 30 scenarios where ML makes sense right now
Michael Greenberg
Head of Strategy

ML might be the hottest topic in marketing, but few practitioners know where or how it might work for them. In this session we will explain ML in jargon-free terms and run through 30 situations where marketers can use ML.

WHY: You've a ton of data, but what can you do with it all as the team can only shift through so much so quickly. I look forward to this session in providing some interesting and actionable ways to take advantage of the machines in helping to provide insight into the data.

01:30 PM to 02:45 PM - Lunch

Will there be bacon?

02:45 PM to 03:30 PM

Your commerce business on one dashboard: Using Sitecore Experience Commerce with Power BI and xConnect to create self-service business intelligence
Benjamin Adamski
Group Manager
Boris Brodsky
Group Manager, Software Engineering

In order to optimize your commerce business, marketers and executives need to have a holistic view of transactions, conversions, and interactions both online and off-line. With Sitecore Experience Analytics data available via xConnect coupled with the Sitecore Experience Commerce data the possibilities for visualization are endless. With Power BI you can quickly merge multiple data sources to provide this view in an easy to use dashboard which can be utilized by all enterprise functions. This all-encompassing view of the enterprise enables every stakeholder to drive the digital destiny forward with data-based decision making through visualization.

WHY: Now that you've got the machines processing the data, it’s time to get that data to the decision makers, and there are few ways better than to make that data self-service and all you can-eat.

04:15 PM to 05:00 PM

A digital transformation story inspired by customers and powered by Sitecore and Salesforce
Christopher Nash
Director DX Strategy
Ólafur Ómarsson
Director of Global Web Development

As a leading global provider of non-invasive mobility solutions, Össur literally empowers its customers to live better lives. In 2018, Össur embarked on a digital transformation journey and deployed a technology stack using Sitecore Experience Platform 9, Sitecore Experience Commerce 9, and Salesforce. In this session, we'll tell you how we built the solution and share context marketing best practices. We'll also provide examples of how XP9 and SXP are used to generate leads and engagement among B2C and B2B segments.

WHY: Most organizations have Salesforce in some capacity. I look forward to seeing they have begun tying the tools and data into a single force for success.

05:15 PM to 06:00 PM - Closing Keynote

06:00 PM to 07:30 PM - Happy Hour!!!

Day 3 - Wednesdays, October 10th

07:00 AM to 08:00 AM - Breakfast

Coffee first, then bacon. Coffee first, then bacon...

08:00 AM to 08:45 AM

Enabling self-service business intelligence with Sitecore Experience Cloud and Power BI
Boris Brodsky
Group Manager, Software Engineering
Benjamin Adamski
Group Manager

Sometimes the fastest way to get an answer from your data is to ask a question using natural language, such as "What were the total sales last year? What is the top-selling product?" Use Power BI Q&A to explore Sitecore Experience Analytics data using natural language capabilities and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs. Different from a search engine, Q&A provides results about the Sitecore data in Power BI. Unlock intelligence in real time for both content and commerce. Stakeholders need information about their business performance and they need it now, data is at your fingertips. Access it using your voice or the Power BI barcode scanner. Make data-based decisions in real time about content, campaigns, promotions, and pricing.

WHY: Data's been collected, what next? Well, the data needs to become accessible, simple as that…I like how this session will show the data accessible via PowerBI, easily making consumable for an entire team to be well informed decisions makers.


The science of Cortex
Niels Kuhnel
Platform Architect

We believe that the real value for machine learning (ML) lies in the data in the Sitecore Experience Database, and exposing and reporting on information that can be used for analyzing valuable business trends and the discovery of new and previously not-thought-of segments. We know that within each vertical market you work in, the data will be unique to how your customers behave, but there are generic algorithms that can help you get started with ML. In this session, we will give practical examples of how Cortex works and how you can bring your own data-science practices and algorithms into Sitecore.

WHY: If you are interested in understanding some of the underpinning technologies behind Cortex, this session is for you. It is in the dev-track so be prepared to see behind the curtain, but I expect you to walk away with understanding how your data and site will (or may will not) fit into the new Cortex paradigm.

09:00 AM to 09:45 AM

Guest Keynote....who will it be?

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

Finding value in your data: Using Sitecore's Analytics tools to generate business impact
Mike Shaw
Digital Strategist

Sitecore xDB captures a wealth of data; however, sifting through the data and making heads or tails of it can be overwhelming. Join this presentation to learn how to use all the tools of Sitecore XP to identify, hunt down, and formulate a plan of attack for opportunities within your customers. Mike will show you how he uses a combination of Experience Analytics, Path/Page Analyzer, xProfile as well as some lesser known nuggets to truly gain a 360° view of your site and your customers.

WHY: After a site has been running for a few months the amount of data collected can be overwhelming. If you are new to the world of Sitecore Analytics this session should be on your short list, just to help understand the tools available to you and what scenarios they make the most sense to use.


Digital business transformation: Fueling disruption while creating opportunities for growth
Teresa Barriera
Chief Marketing Officer

To undergo a digital business transformation is to imagine a future and then bring that future to fruition by developing new business models, reinventing processes, adjusting how people work, and ultimately implementing the right technologies. In this session, we will explore what it takes to embark on this journey as well as the implications for marketing and why organization should initiate this transformation ASAP.

WHY: I think those just entering their Sitecore journey will gain the most from this session, so that you can be well informed to make the right decisions early one. For those of us who are well intrenched within Sitecore, this session should give us some ideas to make our systems a little better.

10:45 AM to 11:45 AM - Break

Time to discuss new opportunities over coffee in the Partner Pavilion. (Or catch a quick swim...hmmm...decisions are hard.)

11:45 AM to 12:30 PM

Catching up with Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon: Leveraging the right data sets to drive personalized experiences
Derek Barka
Chief Technology Officer
Avi Patel
Chief Marketing Officer
Fulton Financial Corporation

In this session, learn how SilverTech and Fulton Financial Corporation utilized customer data and Sitecore to drive targeted product offerings to qualified customer segments and next-best product cross-sell opportunities to their existing customer base. Also learn how Lotame, a third-party data management platform (DMP), was integrated into Sitecore to drive personalized product offerings to anonymous visitors through audience segmenting. SilverTech’s Chief Technology Officer, Derek Barka, will speak to how to leverage your existing data, third-party data, and the power of Sitecore Experience Database to deliver a personalized experience to the majority of your site visitors

WHY: What I find most intriguing about this session is an opportunity to better target anonymous visitors through the usage of third-party data. This is a group of visitors that are always tricky to get a good handle on to convert, so any tips are always welcomed.

12:30 PM to 02:00 PM - Lunch

Can I have a side of coffee with that?

02:00 PM to 02:45 PM

The rise of content, commerce, ad conversational marketing
Martin Coady
Executive Director Technology

With the rise of artificial intelligence, we're seeing more and more chatbot technology incorporated into the commerce experience. However, today's AI-powered commerce experience is still mainly dependent on humans. After all, who creates all that content? In this session, we'll explore the back and forth between technology and marketing and how to bridge the gaps between content, commerce, and conversation.

WHY: Even though this session isn't directly targeting analytics, I feel it deserves to be on the list as it should provide insight into how to manage the changing landscape of user experience.


Taxonomy & rules-based profile mapping: Go from zero user profile tracking to 100% coverage with a single pipeline extension and no content tagging
Nick Allen
Technical Architect, Digital Consultant & Founder
Think Fresh Studio

Assigning visitors to profiles is a core tenant of a content personalization strategy, however many organizations struggle with the initial setup and maintenance of content tagging, especially as the site grows. The task becomes even more challenging when you are working with sites that have large product catalogues or make use of “virtual” URL techniques such as wildcards or dynamic item resolving. In many cases, the profiles we want to associate with our users are based on meta data and taxonomies that already exist in our websites. In this session you will see how you can extract this meta data and taxonomy information to automatically profile users across the entire website without content authors having to tag a single content item.

WHY: I'll warn you that this session is on the developer track, so be prepared to see a config file or two and probably a little Visual Studio. Even with this, this should be an insightful session on ways to move into personalization without some much leg work.

03:00 PM to 03:45 PM

Understanding digital strategy from a marketer's POV
Jason Fields
Brandon Rozelle

The concept "being digital" can mean many things. That's also true of "digital strategy." Even in today's post-digital world, far too many companies struggle to develop and implement effective digital strategies. In fact, research shows that upwards of 75% of the companies surveyed have no digital strategy in place. In this session, we'll explore the what, why, and how of digital strategy from the marketer's point of view.

WHY: Having data is good, but deciding what questions to ask of the data is tricky. I look to this session to provide pointers as you formulate the questions to ask for the data.


Driving an immersive customer experience with Sitecore Experience Commerce + IoT
Richard Seal
Principal Engineer
Jason Wilkerson
Technology Evangelist

How can you leverage Sitecore to drive a better customer experience? In this session, we'll demonstrate how you can combine IoT, xConnect, xDB, Marketing Automation, EXM, and SXA, all tied together with Sitecore Experience Commerce, to deliver a more personalized, meaningful experience for customers at a fictional theme park called SitecoreLand! Using IoT devices to track entry and exit to and from the park as well as engagement with rides and concessions, we can provide incentives and special offers to park guests to optimize line wait times and concession traffic. With marketing automation and EXM we can upsell 'Fast Passes' to skip long lines or cross sell ride or park merchandise. All of this can be done with a relatively small amount of effort!

WHY: I expect this to be a fun and insightful fly-through of how the omnichannel dream can be centralized from within Sitecore providing data for decision making like never before.

03:45 PM to 04:45 PM - Break

Seems like a good time to see what free stuff can be found in the Partner Pavilion.

04:45 PM to 05:30 PM

Will Smith

06:30 PM to 11:30 PM

Party like a Potter

Leave your Muggle worries behind, and join Sitecore for the most magical bash of the year!

Day 4 - Thursday, October 11th

07:30 AM to 08:30 AM - Breakfast

Can the lights be turned down a little? Just coffee this morning, please.

08:30 AM to 09:15 AM

Guest Speaker

09:30 AM to 10:15 AM

Universal tracker and mobile analytics
Alexey Vaschenko
Product Manager

Understanding a customer's behavior is key for delivering the best user experience. In this session, we will dive deep into Sitecore Universal Tracker - the brand-new approach for tracking interactions in mobile and processing data and storing it in Sitecore xDB.

WHY: I am not clear what the universal tracker is, but it sounds fancy and a solver of many headaches. Hopefully bi-location devices will be provided so we can learn about ethically leveraging universal tracking.


Citadel's personalization journey
Courtney Rowan
Director of ECommerce
Citadel FCU
Mary McCleaft
Digital Solutions Analyst
Citadel FCU

One of the major tasks for the digital channel in early 2018 has been the development and launch of full-scale website personalization. Personalization is a major strategic capability of Sitecore, the content management system selected for hosting CitadelBanking.com, and also aligns with Citadel’s Strategic Goal 2 - Create the Best Digital Experience. In April and May, a major rollout of numerous tactics was successfully completed. So far in 2018, more than 120 unique personalization treatments have been developed and deployed across CitadelBanking.com.

WHY: If you are struggling a bit after the party, this should be informative but easy way to kickstart the day. Hearing the story of how someone has made the changes to truly roll-out personalization should leave you feeling on cloud-nine.

10:30 AM to 11:15 AM

Crafting rich experiences with customized experience profiles
Ryan Bailey
Lead Developer
Wayne Ramshaw
Digital Channel Manager

A supplier of both energy and telecommunications services to New Zealand, Trustpower is a long-time user of Sitecore XP. Through the Trustpower use case, discover the benefits of utilizing the core features of Sitecore XP to increase conversion and retarget advertising via external parties to create a truly customer-centric website.

WHY: Converted customer is good, a multiple-time converted is even better. I look forward to hearing how this has been done successfully.

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Closing Keynote

Let’s schedule a time to talk about how we can help make sense of your analytics environment.